Five Gulf states said Thursday that they will protect Yemen’s embattled President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi against Shiite rebels.
Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain and the UAE said they “have decided to answer the call of President Hadi to protect Yemen and his people from the aggression of the (Shiite) Houthi militia.”
Arab League chief Nabil Elaraby declared his full support for the airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. “I affirm complete support” for the campaign, he said at a meeting of Arab foreign ministers. “It is an operation against targets belonging to the Houthis who committed a coup.”
Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman will lead the Saudi delegation to the 26th Arab League Summit in Sharm El-Sheikh.
Hadi who arrived in Riyadh on Thursday will also attend the summit.
The US is coordinating closely with Saudi Arabia and regional allies in the military action, including providing intelligence and logistical support, the White House said.
US forces were not taking direct military action in Yemen, she stressed, but were “establishing a Joint Planning Cell with Saudi Arabia to coordinate US military and intelligence support.”
“We strongly urge the Houthis to halt immediately their destabilizing military actions and return to negotiations as part of the political dialogue,” added Meehan.
“The international community has spoken clearly through the UN Security Council and in other fora that the violent takeover of Yemen by an armed faction is unacceptable and that a legitimate political transition can be accomplished only through political negotiations and a consensus agreement among all of the parties.”
British Prime Minister David Cameron told Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in a phone call on Thursday that “other countries” should not be supporting Houthi militants in Yemen, Cameron’s spokeswoman said, something Tehran is already doing.
“In order to restore stability what we need is a political process and … as part of that other countries should not be supporting the Houthi rebels and instead be encouraging all the different parties in Yemen with different interests to come together in a political process,” the spokeswoman said.
Pakistan’s government said Thursday it will dispatch a top civil-military delegation to Saudi Arabia following Riyadh’s request that it join the coalition.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif decided to send the group to Saudi Arabia on Friday after meeting with top defense and military officials in Islamabad late Thursday, his office said in a statement.
“The meeting concluded that any threat to Saudi Arabia’s territorial integrity would evoke a strong response from Pakistan,” it said, adding that Pakistan’s defense minister and Sharif’s national security adviser would travel to the country, along with top military figures.
Sharif told the meeting: “Pakistan enjoys close and brotherly relations with Saudi Arabia and other GCC countries and attaches great importance to their security.”
Morocco also joined the coalition, the Foreign Ministry said Thursday.Rabat has “put at the disposition” of the coalition Moroccan warplanes already based in the UAE, a statement said. Morocco had “decided to provide all forms of support to the coalition to sustain legitimacy in Yemen through the political, intelligence, logistical and military dimensions,” the statement added.
The objective was to help “remove Yemen from the crisis in which it is mired,” as well as to “stand up to all foreign conspiracies woven against the country, and against Gulf and Arab security.”
Turkey said it supports the operation and called on the militia group and its “foreign supporters” to abandon acts which threaten peace and security in the region.
President Tayyip Erdogan was quoted on Thursday as saying Turkey may consider providing logisitical support to the Saudi-led mission and called on Iran and “terrorist groups” to withdraw from the country.
“Turkey may consider providing logistical support based on the evolution of the situation,” Erdogan told France 24 in an interview, extracts of which were published on its website and by Turkish broadcasters.
“Iran and the terrorist groups must withdraw,” he said.
Four Egyptian naval vessels have crossed the Suez Canal en route to Yemen to secure the Gulf of Aden, maritime sources at the Suez Canal said on Thursday.
“It was necessary for Egypt to assume its responsibility… through the participation of elements of the Egyptian armed forces from the air force and Navy,” the presidency said in a statement. It said the action came in response to “demands by the Yemeni nation for the return of stability and to preserve its Arab identity.”
Former Lebanese Premier Saad Al-Hariri praised King Salman’s decision to launch an attack. “Iranian intervention in domestic affairs in Yemen requires an urgent Arab reaction.
Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders said his country stands behind the Arab coalition. “The military operation which has been launched by Saudi Arabia and some GCC countries is necessary to support the legitimacy in Yemen,” Reynders said.
Saudi Arabia has planned to beef up security at its borders and around oil and industrial facilities, SPA said Thursday, citing a statement by Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Naif.
Prince Mohammed, who is also the interior minister, stressed “strengthening all security measures on the borders of the Kingdom and in all public utilities and around the oil and industrial facilities,” at a meeting to review security developments in Yemen, SPA said.
Kuwait said earlier on Thursday it had raised security around its oil facilities inside and outside the country.